Lo and Behold, Reveries From a Connected World is Werner Herzog's latest cinematic project, one that takes the viewer through the history of the internet, in details you wouldn't possibly imagine. The past, present and future of our digital interactions are scrutinised and philosophised upon by the director himself, as we've come to expect from his previous films such as Grizzly Bear, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Into the Abyss. The film is divided into chapters, each taking into consideration both the amazement and the darkness of such a monumental invention.
Lo And Behold begins on the campus of UCLA—the “birthplace of the internet”—where professor Leonard Kleinrock gives a peek inside the first computer to interact remotely with another computer, in the autumn of 1969. From here, Herzog jumps from subject to subject.
For example, did you know that if all the data transmitted online for only one day was burned on to CDs, the pile would stretched to Mars and back? That's the kind of poetic information you find intertwined amongst the heavy technological information? You also get to find out about recovery clinics for people with internet addictions as well as people who have electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
Moreover, Adriwn Treuille explains how the web helped medical staff find the solution to a problem with their molecule modelling programme, while the world of hacking is decoded by Kevin Mitnick, who ran rings round law enforcement before getting caught. Furthermore, Elon Musch pitches his vision of life on Mars and a few other treats for the geeks.
"One of our most intellectually ambitious filmmakers — a self-professed seeker of ecstatic truths, a tireless foot soldier of cinema — tackles what he calls “one of the greatest revolutions” humanity has experienced. The combination of Mr. Herzog’s doggedly curious sensibility and the mysteries of the digital universe seems both improbable and irresistible." (NYTimes)
"To make a documentary about the Internet requires nerve. To do so when you can hardly be bothered with a cell phone, however, takes both innocence and bravado, plus a pinch of madness. All of which means that Werner Herzog, now aged seventy-three, is right for the job, and the result is “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World.” The movie is divided into ten parts, none of which could be mistaken for a commandment; Herzog’s documentaries have always been fired more by marvelling, and by an explorer’s ache to learn, than by any pedagogic urge to tell. If he were struck color-blind tomorrow, he would instantly embark on a film about Matisse." (New Yorker)
"Herzog’s technological ambivalence does provide some superficial organization, at least in the sense that it inspires a pro/con divide between those excited about the relentless forward march of progress and those wary of how interconnectivity has fundamentally reshaped civilization. Lo And Behold approaches the internet with the same mixture of wonder and dread that the director previously applied to pitiless nature, but the subject matter is inherently less cinematic. Rather than, say, the oil fields of Kuwait or the forests of Guyana, Herzog trains his lens on machinery, circuit boards, and screens—the kind of imagery that filmmakers have been struggling to make visually interesting since computers began dominating daily life. Likewise, the talking heads—scientists, tech moguls, ordinary people choosing to live an unplugged life—lack the oddball magnetism and extreme pursuits of Herzog’s most memorable interviewees. Which is to say, hearing a famous hacker talk shop isn’t as compelling as spending a few minutes with any one of the intrepid explorers of Encounters At the End of the World, another of the director’s more scattered, episodic nonfiction efforts." (A.V. Club)
"his subject. Intrigued as he unmistakably is by the possibilities that technology may yet afford us, it’s hard not to suspect that Herzog agrees with the speaker who declares that “computers are the worst enemy of deep critical thinking.” Certainly his straightforward visual style, which favors talking heads and establishing shots over a flashier, more aggressive graphic approach, bespeaks a desire to scrutinize his subject from a healthy distance. The virtual future may be now, but “Lo and Behold,” with its stimulating volley of insights and ideas, always feels persistently, defiantly human." (Variety)